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 Post subject: Donncha O Briain
PostPosted: Wed Oct 04, 2017 6:39 pm 
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I found him by accident, a video on Youtube. I recognized his disease and felt a powerful connection. Where can I find more information about him beyond what's listed at this link? http://www.irishmusicmagazine.com/2011/ ... dog-stain/

Is there more information out there about him?


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 Post subject: Re: Donncha O Briain
PostPosted: Wed Oct 04, 2017 11:18 pm 
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He's a brilliant whistler... if you can get a hand on his album it is an absolute treat.

https://thesession.org/recordings/3961
https://www.amazon.co.uk/Ceol-bhFead%C3%B3g-St%C3%A1in-Donncha-Briain/dp/B008PBRWAW

Cheers,

Melany


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 Post subject: Re: Donncha O Briain
PostPosted: Thu Oct 05, 2017 2:02 am 
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Quote:
Is there more information out there about him?


His tunebook 'The Golden Eagle' had a scrapbook of bits and pieces from his early years. There's some among the tunes here, even if I feel that whole page/project is a bit past its use by date. There should be stuff out there, if you look in the right places.

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 Post subject: Re: Donncha O Briain
PostPosted: Thu Oct 05, 2017 3:20 am 
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I know that he comes from a family of musicians, a few of whom still play and perform. I want to say Uilleann pipes. You can hear the piping influence on his playing with those crans.


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 Post subject: Re: Donncha O Briain
PostPosted: Thu Oct 05, 2017 5:58 am 
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Quote:
his playing with those crans


He never really struck me as a cranning whistleplayer but it's been a while since I listened closely to his playing. In the youtube clip of him playing the Holly Bush he uses a FED triplet at times but you can't really call that a cran. Can you point us to some examples? (that's just me being lazy)


One means of variation he often employed, and he uses that in the youtube clip as well, is one that, to me, strongly echoes Michael Coleman's playing. What I am think ing of is where he goes cG ~G2 eG ~G2 gG ~G2 (around 3.20 in the clip). He employs the same device in several of his recorded tracks, as far as I remember. It was one of the things that always made me think more of a fiddle influence.

But whatever the way, he was always a lovely player turning out great and interesting music.


As you mention the family, you can hear the whole lot them in action on a 1974 Outlet lp, The Ulster Outcry. Denis would have been 14 at the time of that recording.

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 Post subject: Re: Donncha O Briain
PostPosted: Thu Oct 05, 2017 8:43 am 
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nicx66 wrote:
I know that he comes from a family of musicians, a few of whom still play and perform. I want to say Uilleann pipes.

Oh, right, this may not be obvious to people because of the difference in approach spelling the name. Piper Mick O'Brien of Kitty Lie Over fame is Donncha's brother. He's also the piper on Donncha's album.

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 Post subject: Re: Donncha O Briain
PostPosted: Thu Oct 05, 2017 12:15 pm 
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Mr.Gumby wrote:
Quote:
his playing with those crans


He never really struck me as a cranning whistleplayer but it's been a while since I listened closely to his playing. In the youtube clip of him playing the Holly Bush he uses a FED triplet at times but you can't really call that a cran. Can you point us to some examples? (that's just me being lazy)




I was thinking of the air. He plays it on his record and this live performance. I figured it was the track that the OP was referring to, since it is the only video that I have found of him on Youtube. Here is the link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YIJnafX5ubw


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 Post subject: Re: Donncha O Briain
PostPosted: Thu Oct 05, 2017 12:23 pm 
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Thanks for that. I sort of instinctively skipped the air when scouting for crans Image I see what you mean. However, he uses a single A cut to separate the Ds. The way he uses it here, it does sort of mimic the sound of a cran but I don't think it would qualify as one.

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 Post subject: Re: Donncha O Briain
PostPosted: Thu Oct 05, 2017 2:28 pm 
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I have been trying to mimic that 'D' cut for a year now with no luck. The insight is greatly appreciated. Watching the video gives a little insight, but he was so economical with his finger work.


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 Post subject: Re: Donncha O Briain
PostPosted: Fri Oct 20, 2017 6:33 pm 
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If you happen to have Spotify, you can listen to his album there. Fantastic player and a great whistle album.


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 Post subject: Re: Donncha O Briain
PostPosted: Sun Oct 22, 2017 8:45 am 
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Grey Larsen writes about him, a biographical sketch and about his music, in his book The Essential Guide to Irish Flute and Tin Whistle. Thinks very highly of him.

I'll never forget seeing him at a concert at Willie Week, c. 1986. It was the Top Class flute & whistle concert. This fellow is rolled out in a wheelchair. Someone puts a plank of wood across the arms of the wheelchair. Then raises his arms, puts elbows on the plank, and fits a whistle in his hands. I am wondering if he could be any good; if this is an effort to be supportive of his struggles... Then the music - great music - just poured forth - fabulous stuff.

Nick


Last edited by nwhitmer on Sun Oct 22, 2017 11:11 am, edited 1 time in total.

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 Post subject: Re: Donncha O Briain
PostPosted: Sun Oct 22, 2017 10:34 am 
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I love his playing. There's something genuinely soulful, to me, about the way he played. Amazing depth of feeling.

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 Post subject: Re: Donncha O Briain
PostPosted: Mon Oct 23, 2017 5:57 am 
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@nwhitmer - I was at that concert too, maybe even still have a recording of it on cassettet tape somewhere. I seem to remember there was a "Monty Python" moment when they struggled to get him up on stage through some sort of arch which was at the side of the stage. Donncha made a joke about it then went on to play some beautiful music.
It's worth pointing out to any one who doesn't know this that Donncha's CD - the original recording from 1979 [ ?] plus a few extra tracks is available for download through iTunes. I think the CD [ let alone the LP record ] is quite hard to find these days.
I also just discovered that the other "Outlet" recording he is on with his family, - "The Ulster Outcry" - recorded in "Mark's Bar" in Dundalk, as I recall, is also now on "iTunes".

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 Post subject: Re: Donncha O Briain
PostPosted: Mon Oct 23, 2017 6:03 am 
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Quote:
was at that concert too


Ditto.

There are a fair few private recordings in circulation as well, again: if you can find them.

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 Post subject: Re: Donncha O Briain
PostPosted: Mon Oct 23, 2017 11:19 am 
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PlanxtyPipes wrote:
If you happen to have Spotify, you can listen to his album there. Fantastic player and a great whistle album.


Thanks PlanxtyPipes! :thumbsup: The only thing I like better than great music is free great music. I didn't even think to look for him on Spotify or Pandora.


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